Mihir Bose: Of Roy, Rio, John, the Euros and the messy FA banana skin effect

Mihir Bose

The non-selection of Rio Ferdinand for the 2012 European Championship now resembles one of those tragedies where you start with one story and end up with something so different you can hardly recognise the starting point. And to think that Ferdinand should be the one who suffers the most collateral damage when he is not even involved in whatever John Terry may or may not have said to his brother Anton.

However, unlike many others in the game,

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Mihir Bose: Blackburn Rovers fiasco shows football is just too big and too important to self-regulate any longer

Mihir Bose

This may not come as much comfort to Blackburn Rovers supporters, but one result of their relegation and how Venky’s, their Indian owners, have managed, or rather mismanaged, the club, is that, at last, high profile politicians may be persuaded that self-regulation in football does not work.

This could even lead to legislation. I am given to understand it might it, and if it does, it will mark a significant development in British football.

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Mihir Bose: The FA should be congratulated, not pilloried, for wisely taking a punt on Hodgson

Mihir Bose

The conventional view in English football is that the Football Association, in going for Roy Hodgson as the next England manager, has made the safe choice. The argument is the people’s favourite, Harry Redknapp, would have been the bold move.

How utterly absurd. Redknapp (pictured below, on left alongside Hodgson) would have been the easy choice, hailed by the media and the supporters. It is Hodgson who is the brave, unconventional appointment, and the FA ought to be congratulated.

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Mihir Bose: Beyond the Premier League ‘top table’ clubs should adopt a “realistic” blueprint for survival

Mihir Bose

Change in football (let alone the wider society) is difficult to predict. It is often best left to historians with their long lenses to look back and tell us when one era ends and another begins.

However, despite the fact that we do not know for sure who will win this season’s English Premier League title, it is my firm belief that this campaign marks a momentous season of change in the Premiership – the third such change since the Premiership started 20 years ago.

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Mihir Bose: Leaders of a ‘disreputable’ game have duty to recalibrate its moral compass

Mihir Bose

This season is turning out to be one in which football has had to look hard at itself. The critical question: is the game capable of examining itself? And if so, would changing things make this a defining football season?

I am afraid I have grave doubts.

The reaction to Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at White Hart Lane showed that the game has a soul, but much else has happened which indicates that football has a lot to do,

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Mihir Bose: Footballers will remain brainless bad boys until clubs step up

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Mario Balotelli (pictured below) is not the only footballer whose antics make you think there is much wrong with the game. Apart from his well publicised problems with his manager, the Manchester City player also managed to set fire to his house after a fireworks display in his bathroom. It is just as well not all footballers are like Balotelli. Not that the inane way they often answer questions on television give you much confidence that they think before they speak.

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Mihir Bose: Muamba outpourings demonstrate football has soul

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Ever since Fabrice Muamba collapsed in the first half of the FA Cup match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, not a single football event has gone by without some sympathy being expressed for the stricken Bolton player. This has included fans and players, even players in countries far removed from England, wearing T-shirts wishing Muamba a speedy recovery. His progress in hospital has been monitored with the sort of attention that was once accorded to members of the royal family and would nowadays be given to high profile pop stars.

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Mihir Bose: If FIFA is to reform can British privileges be defended?

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British football’s privileges are under threat. But don’t blame Sir David Richards if Britain loses its unique status in world football. That will be the natural reaction after our Dave’s extraordinary performance in Doha last week. But it will be wrong. Look to wider politics in the world body for the answer.

Not that the Premier League chairman covered himself with glory when he went to Qatar last week. His mission there was to tell the world what it can learn from the Premier League having become the most powerful League in the world.

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Mihir Bose: Abramovich is like a child with a shiny new train set and he certainly doesn’t want to share

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The easiest way to understand Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea, is to appreciate that he is like a child with a new toy train set. The child knows his shiny new train set is better than anything possessed by the other kids, and while he wants to show off, he does not want to share his toys with anyone else. All he wants is to show how clever and superior he is in possessing this set.

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Mihir Bose: Despite the turmoil, the racism debate might spark some good progress in English football

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Good can sometimes come out of evil, and the debate on racism that the game is going through could well lead to English football going down the road of America and adopting the Rooney rule. This rule, named for Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and chairman of the league’s diversity committee, was introduced in 2003 so that minority coaches, especially African Americans, were at least considered for high-level coaching positions.

It basically states that,

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Mihir Bose: Rangers entering administration shows how crazy football is

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Administrators being called into Glasgow Rangers is more than yet another football club living way beyond its means. This is one of those seminal moments when you feel the world has changed and may not be the same again. It illustrates the perils of football commercialism and how dangerous it can be.

No, it is not quite football’s equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall; to suggest that would be going a touch too far.

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Mihir Bose: The John Terry affair may be easy to remedy but the scourge of racism is leaving scars on the name of the FA

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Whatever the final outcome of the John Terry case, and Terry must be regarded as innocent until his trial is concluded, it has already had a tremendous impact on the English game.

It has made us look at the role played by the captain in English football, and the relationship between the Football Association and the England manager. But the most long lasting impact of the case could be on how black footballers feel about racism in the game.

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Mihir Bose: Refereeing gaffes are making a mockery of football

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Michel Platini’s Financial Fair Play may finally deal with the financial doping the UEFA President feels is ruining the game. But there is an equally serious crisis confronting the game which Platini and other football administrators refuse to address.

This is the failure by football’s bosses to deal with the events on the pitch where almost every game is blighted by incidents the referees do not spot. These then become the subject of calls for disciplinary inquiries by frustrated managers,

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Mihir Bose: English football will do itself no good by continuing to rubbish the Europa League

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The amount of muck poured on this competition reminds me of the words Kelvin MacKenzie said to John Major after he had taken Britain out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). As MacKenzie recounted to the Leveson inquiry on the press, as the hapless Prime Minister rang to ask the then Sun editor how he would treat the news, he replied, “Prime Minister, I have a bucket of shit by my desk and I am about to pour it on you.”

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Mihir Bose: Liverpool’s American owners need to step in and take control of the Suárez affair before it’s too late

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Liverpool should be very careful that the club does not allow its handling of the Luis Suárez affair to get out of control. It is one thing playing the victim card as it has been on this issue. But situations like these acquire a momentum that makes what seems like a carefully planned journey to get sympathy turn into a train crash. Liverpool is perilously close to that and the events in the match against Oldham on Friday are a further warning of the consequences of the present Liverpool behaviour.

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